When you picture hotels with apiaries (bee yards), the image probably conjures up a property set on a bucolic patch of land in the country somewhere, but W Austin is proving that bees can thrive in an urban environment as well.
The 37-story hotel, located smack-dab in downtown Austin, Texas, recently renovated its barren rooftop space into a buzzing apiary, complete with ten honey-producing hives. The hotel teamed up with non-profit Central Texas Bee Rescue (CTBR) to make the project a reality. W Austin is part of Block 21’s 1.1 million square foot development project in the city. For project developer Beau Armstrong, the installation is just another step forward in making Block 21 an eco-friendly and sustainable venture.
“Installing this apiary is another step in our continuing journey to be leaders in sustainable practices. We strive every day to make small changes that move the needle, and are excited to see how Block 21’s apiary will further advance our commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Armstrong.
The hives were relocted to the rooftop by CTBR instead of exterminated. The organization works to save the dwindling honey bee population endangered by the increased use of pesticides and poisons. The bees are fed organic fruit as opposed to sugar water, and they produce will be used in the hotel’s TRACE as part of its food and beverage menu offerings and will eventually be incorporated into a variety of treatments in the property’s AWAY Spa.
“In all of our initiatives at W Austin, we seek to serve our guests while creating an environment of responsibility that serves the community,” said Sean Bradshaw, W Austin’s director of beverage and food. “This apiary does both. In addition to using the honey we harvest, we are partnering with an organization that focuses their efforts on the grave reality posed by declining bee populations, which is a very real threat to the global food chain.”